If there is anything that women complain is the source of their lost libido – it’s stress and fatigue. It is difficult to enjoy sex when sleep seems so much more appealing. Fortunately, training in preventive medicine allows me to offer real solutions for eliminating sources of stress and curbing fatigue – giving women their energy back and revving their desire for sex once again.
Sleep would top the list of priorities – if you were to survey the group of doctors I work with, I venture that all of them would say that no patient is more grateful than those who experience a quality night’s sleep for the first time in many years. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of adults feel too tired for sex. For women, one of the most common reasons for missing out on high quality sleep is due to the symptoms of hormone imbalance.
Often these nights of tossing and turning or waking at ungodly hours wide-eyed and annoyed can be remedied through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Women with too much estrogen and too little progesterone will suffer sleep loss, as well as women suffering from excess testosterone or supplementing adrenal extracts when they are not needed.
If your hormones are in-check, but sleep still eludes you, a sleep journal may help you pinpoint the reasons for your losses. Simply recording the number of hours you sleep and your mood and energy levels before you fall asleep and after you wake up, for a few weeks, can help you determine what habits are inhibiting your sleep cycle. For example, many individuals discover that alcohol before bedtime steals quality shut-eye, while other discover that adding some physical activity to their day helps them sleep like a baby.
Once you pinpoint your personal needs for quality sleep, you can develop a bedtime routine. I like to also give my patients these tips for creating an inviting sleep environment and maybe even incorporating some sexy time with your partner (once you are caught up on sleep.):
- Turn down the lights! Too much light exposure (including the glow from the TV, an iPad or even a bright alarm clock) can suppress secretion of melatonin and disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
- Read – just be certain to choose a soothing story – anything related to work or something so suspenseful it makes your heart race, will keep you from winding down.
- Take a hot bath.
- Brew some tea – sipping on chamomile or passionflower tea while you cuddle with your partner can help you drift to off peacefully.
- Have sex! Think of the relaxing sensation that often follows an intimate session with your partner.
- Avoid food, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco – all these can stimulate your brain and your body and stifle sleep.
Once you achieve adequate sleep, you will begin to see improvements in your desire for sex. Maintain your bedroom as a haven for sleep and sex only – this will keep stress and energy-zapping feelings at the door.
Dr. Jen has more solutions to the top sex-drive sinkers in her new book, The Sex Drive Solution for Women, on sale February 2012.